Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Visiting Old Sturbridge Village During the Fall and Into Thanksgiving

Strolling the Common at Old Sturbridge Village in autumn.
Photographer: Thomas Neill
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Article by Eric H.
If you're looking for an educational and entertaining New England travel attraction for the whole family, Old Sturbridge Village (OSV) in Sturbridge, Mass., continues as one of the region's best destinations.

The authentic, expansive Sturbridge Village living museum presentation expertly recreates rural New England during the 1790s through the 1830s.  The village layout is tremendously thoughtful and detailed with 59 historic buildings on 200 acres, three water-powered mills and two covered bridges.  Additionally, you can visit with knowledgeable New England historians in costume, ride in a stagecoach, view antiques, heirloom gardens, meet the farm animals, and take part in hands-on crafts.  Additionally, the charming Oliver Wight Tavern looks like an 1830s rural New England tavern and offers lunch, Sunday Brunch and Friday night dinners, at this writing.

It's all a marvelously fun learning experience . Growing up in the Boston area, Sturbridge Village was always a school field trip staple and one with memories that still reside strongly in my mind. I remember, back in the day, getting the school field trip form and running home to exclaim, "Mom, we're going to Sturbridge Village!"  Getting out of the classroom and into a "live" history book, of sorts, was thrilling and full of additional delights foreign to us from near the 'city"-- it just felt wonderful being in the countryside and breathing in fresh air!

I still hear great things from the younger generation about Sturbridge Village -- much like the way we used to talk about it, too. The younger generation, however, doesn't know that they have a much better version of Sturbridge Village with so many more attractions and events.

With some traditionally brilliant October fall colors to enhance your visit -- and get you in a New England state of mind -- Old Sturbridge Village resonates with a true New England feel rather than just being another cheesy, forced, contrived and overpriced New England travel attraction. Sturbridge Village can be enjoyed any time of the year but since we're now into the fall season, let's focus today on the appeal of visiting Sturbridge Village during the autumn time. Here are some of the wonderful events going on:

October 2010

 Apple Days 2010
October 2, 2010 - October 3, 2010
Join us for a weekend dedicated to apple harvest, preservation and cooking.
 Friends' Day
October 2, 2010
9:30 am-5:00 pm
Old Sturbridge Village's day of recognition of and appreciation for you, our 
Village friends and members.
 Take a Closer Look
October 9, 2010
10:00 am
Take a Closer Look is a monthly program open to all OSV Members. 
Held at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday of 
each month, this program invites a closer look with a Village specialist.
 Garden Thyme
October 16, 2010
Third Saturday, 10 a.m.
Garden Thyme is a monthly program open to all OSV Members. Held the third
 Saturday of each month at 
10 a.m., this program looks at a variety of topics for the experienced and novice gardener.
 Harvest Days
October 16, 2010 - October 17, 2010
9:30 am-5:00 pm
As the days grow cooler and shorter, come celebrate the harvest with us.
 Broadway delivers to the Oliver Wight Tavern:
Cabaret Lulu
October 21, 2010
$42.50 per person for lunch and program (includes tax & gratuity)
Spend an afternoon on Broadway by way of Old Sturbridge Village. Enjoy 
lunch at the Oliver Wight Tavern followed by a direct-from-Broadway 
cabaret show in the Brewer Theater.Reservations required.
Things That Go Bump in the Night $
October 30, 2010 - 5:00 PM
$12 per person, children under 3: free
Advance registration is required
Old Sturbridge Village is the perfect setting for a family Halloween 
event. Spooky storytelling, magic, creepy games, and trick-or-treating
 around the Center Village.  The Trail of Terror (for brave souls 
age 11 and up) is also back this year.  Tickets on sale now for Members; 
public sale begins October 1.
Trail of Terror $
October 30, 2010 - 6:30 PM
$8 per person (ages 11 & up); event admission additional and required
For brave souls age 11 and up...Prepare to be spooked as you venture 
away from the family-friendly Center Village and into the darkness of the
countryside, where unnamed fears may be awakened 
on the Trail of Terror.

November 2010

 American Girl Fashion Show
November 5, 2010 - November 7, 2010
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
 Dog Days for Members
November 6, 2010 - November 7, 2010
9:30 am-4:00 pm
Attention OSV Members:  as a thank-you for your support we are offering a series of special 
Dog Days at OSV just for Members.
 Scout Day at Old Sturbridge Village
November 6, 2010
9:30 am-4:00 pm
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Lives on...in 1830!  This fall event is for Boy
and Girl Scouts, and 
their families, who want to learn about America's proud past.  Enjoy the late fall foliage 
while visiting our early 19th-century rural community.
Dinner in a Country Village $
Selected Saturday evenings from November through March, 5 to 9 p.m.
$85 per person; $75 for OSV MembersPre-registration is required
Enjoy a unique opportunity to prepare and eat a meal the way early 
New Englanders did. The Parsonage 
is the setting for this Saturday-night program, where costumed interpreters oversee 
the preparations, but the guests do the chopping, mixing, and stirring.   
 Home School Day - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
November 10, 2010
9:30 am-4:00 pm
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Lives on...in 1830! During this Home 
School day, children and their families will have the opportunity to
learn more about this tale and its time through storytelling,
 demonstrations and hands-on activities.
 Old Sturbridge Village Celebrates the Nation's Veterans
November 11, 2010
Old Sturbridge Village is proud to honor veterans and active duty 
personnel of the nation's armed forces.
 Take a Closer Look
November 13, 2010
10:00 am
Take a Closer Look is a monthly program open to all OSV Members. 
Held at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month, this program 
invites a closer look with a Village specialist.
An Evening of Illumination $
Saturday, November 13, 6 to 9 p.m.
$35 per person; $30 for OSV Members
Old Sturbridge Village opens in the evening and invites visitors to see what
the Village would have looked like using only Village period 
lighting devices.  View a slide show of this event.
 Broadway delivers to the Oliver Wight Tavern:
Cabaret Lulu
November 18, 2010
$42.50 per person for lunch and program (includes tax & gratuity)
Spend an afternoon on Broadway by way of Old Sturbridge Village. 
Enjoy lunch at the Oliver Wight Tavern followed by a direct-from-Broadway
cabaret show in the Brewer Theater.Reservations required.
 Garden Thyme
November 20, 2010
Third Saturday, 10 a.m.
Garden Thyme is a monthly program open to all OSV Members. Held the 
third Saturday of each month at 10 a.m., this program looks at a 
variety of topics for the experienced and novice gardener.
 Thanksgiving Buffet  $
Enjoy a 19th-century meal in the Oliver Wight Tavern
November 25, 2010
Seatings from 11am to 4pm
Enjoy a 19th-century Thanksgiving meal at the Oliver 
Wight Tavern at Old Sturbridge Village.
Reservations required.
 Thanksgiving Day Celebration
November 25, 2010
To mark one of just a handful of holidays on the early New England
calendar, Old Sturbridge Village re-creates various activities from an
early New England Thanksgiving Day, including 
cooking at the hearth, demonstrations of 19th-century 
table manners, a Thanksgiving sermon, and after-dinner entertainment.
 Thanksgiving Dinner in Bullard Tavern  $
November 25, 2010
Seatings at 11am, 1:45pm and 4:15pm
Enjoy a 19th-century Thanksgiving meal at the Bullard Tavern at 
Old Sturbridge Village.Reservations required.
 Shooting Match
November 26, 2010
Come watch the Village marksmen display their musket-firing skills in friendly competition.
 A New England Wedding
November 27, 2010
Thanksgiving was a favorite time for many early 19th-century 
marriages, as family gathered for the holiday. Visit with the bride as 
she prepares for the wedding and enjoy a dramatic presentation about the 
couple's courtship and marriage, including their re-created wedding ceremony.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Groton Long Point, a Coastal Connecticut Gem

Palmer's Cove, Groton Long Point, Groton, Conn.

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Article and photos by Eric H.
Although primarily a summer resort, you might want to check out the Groton Long Point area before the New England weather takes a cold turn for the worse. Located on Long Island Sound in the town of Groton, Conn., (to be specific, the Noank neighborhood), this beautiful southeastern coastal Connecticut gem is a nice area to take a scenic drive or to walk or bike the area. Where ever one looks, as evidenced in this photo (Palmer's Cove), you're sure to find some amazing views by the sea.

For lunch or dinner, stop by The Fisherman (937 Groton Long Point Rd.), which overlooks Palmer's Cove and Fisher's Island. The seafood is fantastic (including lobster) and the atmosphere nice and relaxed. Another option (but not for too much longer) is Abbott's Lobster in the Rough (117 Pearl St.), a famous New England seafood shack, specializing in lobster and overlooking the water. Time is running short, as Abbott's closes for the season after Columbus Day Weekend!

Groton Long Point is also minutes from Mystic, a lively coastal vacation spot with shops, restaurants, a nice river walk and well-know attractions like Mystic Seaport. Olde Mistick Village, the Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Pizza.

Abbott's Lobster in the Rough (photo by Eric H.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

The First Frosting of Fall...

Apple cobbler cupcake (photo by Eric H.)

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Article by Eric H.
If you love cupcakes, the fall-friendly apple cobbler cupcake at Butter Cafe and Bakery in Walpole, Mass., "takes the cupcake."

This absolutely mouthwatering concoction features cake batter-like frosting with apple crumble cake on the top and loads of warmed soft apples and a hint of cinnamon and vanilla beneath. Forget all those apple, pumpkin and maple infused fall-time sweets from the big box food chains, this masterpiece gets to the "core" of locally-made fall baked goods.  No surprise, given the high-end breakfasts, lunches and sweets turned out by veteran Boston culinary whiz and Butter Cafe owner Steve Butters (a former chef at Flat Iron Tapas Bar and Lounge at the Bullfinch Hotel, Aquitaine and the Metropolis Cafe, all in Boston, Mass.).

Butter Cafe and Bakery
935 East St.
Walpole, MA 02081
t 508.668.2123
f 508.668.0167

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Welcome to Fall in New England!

Bountiful pumpkin harvest. Photo Credit: Maine Office Tourism

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With all due respect to the holiday season, we often feel that fall in New England "is the most wonderful time of the year." Ambiance in New England is at its best with a cool, crisp feel in the air, apple picking, town and city fairs and harvests, scenic mountain and ocean Sunday drives, including, of course, leaves turning brilliant colors.

At our Weekly New England Travel and Vacation blog, please check in often to find out about what's going on in the New England fall. We also encourage you to check out our flagship site, VisitingNewEngland.com and its Fall Vacations page as well as blogs Buy Local Shop Local New England, The Great New England Photo Travel Tour and The Thrifty New England Traveler ("Travel More, Spend Less!") to get tips and suggestions on how to make your trips to New England in the fall special and fun to the max!

To kick off things, we recently received information from our good New England neighbors at VisitMaine.com on some "pumpkin" events that will get you in the fall spirit in Maine:

MAINE - It's a banner year for pumpkin growers in Maine. Plenty of summer sunshine helped pumpkin patches explode with colorful gourds. That means more pumpkin pie and added fun at these annual pumpkin celebrations.

Bountiful pumpkin harvest. Photo Credit: Maine Office Tourism

The 8th annual Punkinfiddle festival happens Sept. 25 at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. Punkinfiddle is a National Estuaries Day Celebration featuring traditional crafts, pumpkin decorating, lively fiddle music, old-fashioned games, an estuary scavenger hunt, farm animals and face painting. Please call 207-646-1555 for more information.

See the many uses for giant pumpkins at the 4th annual Damariscotta Pumpkinfest Regatta happening Oct. 3-11. Join the crowd on the banks of the Damariscotta River to watch the giant pumpkin paddleboat race and motorized pumpkinboat regatta. View the carved and painted pumpkins displayed on Main Street, and see the winner of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth weigh-off contest in the festival parade.

Before taking a walk through a haunted house, try a walk through a pumpkin house at the Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival at L.L. Bean in Freeport on Oct. 30. There will be live music, games for children, pumpkin sculptures, pumpkin pie and a tower of more than a thousand lit jack-o-lanterns.

Saco's Main Street becomes a pedestrian way for the annual Pumpkin Harvest Festival happening Oct. 16. The day will include live music, games for children, pumpkin carving and a jack-o-lantern walk.

Oceanside Food Festivals
The small village of Blue Hill packs a big culinary punch during the Foliage, Food and Wine Festival taking place Oct. 14-17. Don't miss the wine dinners at local restaurants, an artisan chocolate making class, traditional lobster bake, and the Taste of the Peninsula event showcasing the best of local chefs and food producers.

Expect more choices of wine, beer, spirits and Maine-made foods at this year's Harvest on the Harbor happening Oct. 21-23 on the Portland waterfront. From The Ultimate Seafood Splash to the Grand Tasting on the Harbor, or a tasting and demonstration event with four Maine James Beard award-winning chefs, there's plenty to please foodies of all types.

For more information about Maine's summer and fall events, go to www.visitmaine.com.

But wait, there's more...

Squeezing Another Spirit from Potatoes
Maine Distilleries, the maker of Cold River Vodka, is once again using local potatoes and water to craft a new spirit: Cold River Gin. The 100 percent Maine potato gin is infused with seven traditional botanicals and water from the Cold River aquifer in the foothills of western Maine. The gin is gluten-free and has no sugar added.

A New Train on Downeast Tracks
The Downeast Scenic Railroad is now offering train rides on the historic Calais Branch Line departing from downtown Ellsworth. The 10-mile trip to Ellsworth Falls and Washington Junction takes about 90 minutes and happens on Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 17. Travelers ride in a restored passenger coach, open air car, or a 1918 Reading caboose with views from its cupola.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Norwood, Mass., a Close-Knit New England Community

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Article and photos by Eric H.
We've heard it again and again: so many people that were born and raised in Norwood, Mass., never leave. The same affinity for Norwood also holds true for numerous transplants, compelled to lay down their roots in this mid-sized, southwest suburban Boston, Mass., town.

Why? Well, Norwood has a strong sense of community, a fantastic downtown with shops, restaurants, historic buildings and a fabulous town common -- plus, established tree-lined neighborhoods, good schools, plenty of activities for people of all ages, and proximity to Boston and Providence, R.I.

Want proof that this is a close-knit, involved community? Take a look at the photos taken at yesterday's Norwood Town Day," which brought out thousands of people. Now that's what we call a real New England community!

Editor's note: the author does not live in Norwood and has no vested interest in the town. He just likes the place!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fall Foliage Updates for New Hampshire

The Flume (photo from a previous  year), Franconia State Park, N.H.

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Good morning, fans of New England travel! Just wanted to alert you that we just received the latest New Hampshire fall foliage updates from the State of New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Department. You can access the foliage update on Our Facebook New England Vacations Fan Page.

We are always looking, too, for reports from you on great "live time" foliage sightings throughout New England. Although it is a bit early now, keep this in mind as we are always grateful for your feedback!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Photo Tour of New England Blog

Long Sands Beach, York Beach Maine (photo by Eric H.)

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We just launched The Great New England Photo Travel Tour Blog as part of the VisitingNewEngland.com  New England Travel News Network. This new blog focuses on photos of scenic New England, while encouraging readers to submit their own travel photos.  We strongly believe in the visual medium to tell the New England story -- viewing photos can be like "the next best thing to being there."

We look forward to your New England travel photos. Please check back in often as we will be updating frequently!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The 2010 Fall New England Travel Newsletter Is Now Online

The New England Travel Newsletter For Fall 2010

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The VisitingNewEngland.com 2010 Fall New England Travel Newsletter has just been released and can be found at http://www.visitingnewengland.com/NewEngland-Fall-Vacation-Newsletter-2010.

Told from a paying traveler's personal point-of-view, this locally-created newsletter features articles, colorful photographs and travel tips to benefit your New England trip planning. We also provide local resources that provide first-hand expertise on the "latest and greatest" in New England fall travel.

I had a lot of fun putting this newsletter together -- really a work of love. We hope you enjoy this publication. And as always, feel free to post any New England fall travel ideas in the box below!



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